Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Needs Must...But What Do We Really Need?

A quick update: Success (of a sort)!  I managed to find a pharmacy that could fill my scrip.  Unfortunately, the scrip had expired by the time I did.  I'm getting a new one this week.  Hopefully they'll still have it.  I've temporarily handed over all the powers of the Executive until such time as I am ready to resume the responsibility (What I wouldn't give to have my own Josh, Toby, Sam, C.J., and Leo.  And Donna...hmmmmmm...whuh?  Oh, sorry.  Let's move on.).

Anyway, life keeps a-moving.  Plans continue to be made for the wedding, which will be in October.  We've more or less picked a venue, and we're now negotiating the guest list.  Neither one of us being particularly traditional (except when it comes to Celtic music), this is going to be a pretty low-key affair.  Think of a Halloween party that just happens to be taking place at the same time as a marriage ceremony.  We may even decide to make costumes optional.  I wonder what the Misfits are doing that day...

One of the things we talked about is the fact that, really, there isn't all that much we need.  We've got kitchen stuff, china, linens, appliances, etc., so it's not like we're starting out fresh (although, if it were possible to register for a Swiss bank account, we'd be open to advice on how).  Obviously, if someone wants to buy us something, we'd be grateful for the gesture and the gift.  Who doesn't like getting presents?  We've registered for some fun things at Amazon, and will probably do the same with Target, for our older relatives who aren't as web-savvy.  What we're asking people to do is make a donation to one (or even all, if it's within your means) of these three charities.

My folks have been giving to My Brother's Keeper for years.  They met the founders while on Cursillo (which, for those who don't know, is a religious retreat).  They are the very definition of practicing what you preach, providing furniture, clothes, food, and other essentials to low income families in need.  They do these things in the name of their Christian faith.  Now, I'm not particularly religious, and I'm not a fan of evangelicals (not that they are, I'm just saying).  But I've always held that, if your faith gives you comfort and inspires you to do good works, then more power to you.  You could not find a better example of this than My Brother's Keeper.

Jess' family has given to Boys Town over the years.  If you've seen the Spencer Tracy/Mickey Rooney classic, you pretty much have an idea of what their deal is.  Since that film was made, they've expanded their services to meet the needs of the times, and they're now open to all families, not just boys.  They've also expanded from one location in Nebraska to several regional centers, including one in New England.

Jess and I chose Punks for a Princess, an organization founded by my friend Tony Soly.  They started in 2008 in response to the heartbreaking loss of his 7-year old niece, and they give money to various charities helping children in need.  There's actually a campaign going on right now on the Indie-Go-Go website to help raise some funds to cover some of their administrative costs.  They're looking to raise at least $5,000.00, and as of this writing, they have 25 days and just under $2,000.00 to go.  If you're into punk music and paraphanelia, they have some really neat premium incentives for certain dollar amount donations, so check it out.

We've got a lot of good things in our lives, not the least of which is each other and our families.  And the things young engaged couples usually ask for, we pretty much already have.  The things we absolutely need are things that only we can provide for ourselves, so why not make our day a time to help those who need it most?

Make the donation in our name, your own name, or the name of someone you want to honor.  All we ask is that you take a look at what these organizations have to offer, and give till it feels good.  That's more than enough of a gift for us.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

What It Must Feel Like to Be a Pinball

Have you ever been in a situation where you're stuck in a bind between two different people or companies, each blaming the other for holding back or preventing something that will help you with a problem, and neither of them offering any kind of solution or even trying to show the least amount of empathy?  Just think what it would be like to have that He Said/She Said taking place between two massively large and powerful entities.  That's what's going on right now for people who need to take Adderall to treat their ADHD symptoms.

There is currently a nationwide shortage of Adderall, and the pharmaceutical companies are accusing the federal government of limiting their ability to make more.  The government counters that the industry is holding back in order to raise prices.  The end result is that those people who depend on this drug are forced to either go searching around to several pharmacies in search of it, and do without until it's found, or switch medications to something that may not be as effective and carries different side effects.

I'm one of those people, and speaking on behalf of all of us (Because I'm sure they would have all elected me for this if they'd have been able to focus a little better), I'm here to say I DON'T CARE WHO'S GODDAMN FAULT THIS IS, JUST FIX IT!

Oh.  My.  Giddy.  Aunt.  Is there anything more frustrating than dealing with organizations who, were they fulfilling their purpose, should be helping you, but are instead taking the hands-off approach and pointing at the other one, saying "It's his fault"?  I'm sure there is somewhere, but I sure as hell wouldn't be able to recognize it because I just saw something shiny over there.

I'd been on a couple other meds before, and things were starting to get a lot better for me then.  But once Adderall was introduced to the mix, it was like night and day.  Unfortunately, because it's so effective at helping one's mind focus and sweep away the cobwebs, an even bigger contrast is going from having it to not having it.  When you haven't taken it, things you didn't even realize were a problem start to improve measurably.  But once that supply is gone those things seem even worse.  I think I've been relatively lucky in that the last couple of times I've had difficulty getting a scrip filled, it's only lasted a day or two until I could find it elsewhere.  Not so right now.  I've been out for nearly two weeks now.  Unfortunately, so has my pharmacy, and every other pharmacy in the region.  And there have been repercussions.

In the last several days, I've experienced intense confusion at home, at work, and in at least two near-miss incidents while driving.  I've had conversations with people in which I couldn't have told you what they'd just said if you'd threatened my life.  Now, you can argue whether some people are actually worth paying attention to.  But when your job requires active listening skills?  You pretty much gotta give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Switching medications is definitely an option.  But like I said before, switching can be a tricky business.  Not all ADHD meds treat things the same way.  My doctor is reluctant to switch me because the Adderall's been working so well, and I agree.  But when there's no Adderall to be had?  I don't know, in a case like this, if it's necessarily true that some medication is better than none.  Given my doctor's hesitance, I think she's inclined to agree.

So while a fairly large chunk of the population is worried beyond worried that all of the progress they've made will wash away like a sand castle (a scenario made even more troubling once one knows what better actually feels like), the people in the position to actually do something about this are shuffling their feet, shrugging their shoulders, and saying "Yeah, doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon."

Great, well you folks just continue twiddling your thumbs.  We'll be over here, trying to  figure out why the VCR isn't cooking our Lean Pockets.

Or, you could just get off your asses and fix it.  It really is just that simple, assholes.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Sound of Our Town(s)

One of the really great things I've been able to do lately is go to more shows around Boston, Worcester, and Providence, and reconnect with old friends that are still around, and also meet and hang out with folks who weren't around during the Pleistocene Era, when I was in high school and college and going to shows.  There are a lot of great bands out there that came along after I'd stepped away, and a whole bunch of the bands from my days, and some from before that (hello, F.U.s!), are starting to play out again, for fun, nostalgia, or what have you.  It's definitely a good time to be around the New England punk scene.

And the last couple of months have been a boon, at least for me.  Street Dogs, Lenny Lashley, the Lyres, Classic Ruins, Toasters, Ska-Prest, the Snipes, Brunt of It, Frank Turner, The Locals, and many many more bands have blown through here.  And that's not even counting the shows I didn't hear about until it was too late (The Damned), or the shows I couldn't make because I was at another show (Bosstones, various shows at the Midway, PVD Social Club, Ralph's, the Middle East, etc.).  There have been just a plethora of shows and going's on around the area in general.  And I'm working my way back into it faster than I thought I would.

Of the shows I mentioned above, I can't think of a single one that was disappointing in the least.  And there are a ton of shows coming up that I am determined to get to, come hell or high water.  In the near future, I'm going to be devoting a fair amount of this space to promoting, and then reviewing, those shows, particularly the ones that feature local acts.  I want to give as much of a spotlight as I can to the huge amount of talent in this area, and hopefully do my small part to get folks out to see these bands that tear up the local clubs every week.

And things are starting to move a little more on my own front, musically, as well.  I now have at least three different projects going: My own solo stuff, some duo music with Jess, and an as-yet nebulous group of people looking to maybe do the band thing again.  Dates will be announced very soon for one or all of those things.  Actually, Jess and I will be appearing at the Galway Bay Pub in Pawtucket, Rhose Island on April 27th.  Hopefully there will be more people there that were at Leitrim's.  I think it should be fine, as the pub is right behind McCoy Stadium, the home of the Red Sox' top minor league affiliate.  I'd guess they get some good crowds during the baseball season.

I'm still going to write about mental health and other issues, as they still figure large in my life.  And there are some things going on in that arena that bear commenting on (*cough*nationwideAdderallshortage*cough*).  But I think expanding the range will make this a more enjoyable exercise, both for myself and others.  Hopefully, I can expose you to something new.  And hopefully, you can do the same for me.